June 2010 was my very first Phish concert.
All the time I spent trying to learn Phish beforehand was time spent trying to understand the hype. I went on a whim and knew two or three songs. As I arrived, of course, I dug the party scene more than anything; the parking lot of people… happy people, drinking and enjoying each other. Once the show had actually started, I instantly appreciated the band. The dancing, the sing-a-longs, the overall good energy from fans was… real. I knew there was something special about this music, and physically being at one of their shows was the answer I needed end all of my speculation.
Two years later, I am hooked on Phish. I went up to Saratoga Springs this weekend with my very good friend Jonny and had an absolute blast. The scenery surrounding that venue is just awesome. Trees, green, trees, green, continue. We had beautiful weather and embraced every single minute of our stay.
This post is not about Phish, although, I will have you know that there is no concert quite like theirs, and that is saying a lot considering my love for others bands in different genres (alt rock).
This post is about community; having a sense of comfort and home when you are far from it. Let me tell you, I went to Bonnaroo and I did not get that feeling there, from the people at least. I did not even get that feeling at Bonnaroo when Phish was playing. I only ever notice a homey and equally rocking energy at Phish shows when Phish is the only one playing- not because they just so happen to be there. When there are diehard fans at every angle of the venue mixed with curious newcomers like I was (am?) that are open to 10 plus minute jams that end up in some climax of a song they played 30 minutes ago, as hundreds of glowsticks flail through the air at the highest guitar whail, well that is what make it almost unreal.
Where do these people come from? Why are there not more of them around me? Where I live?
Well, for starters, I met a girl from Buffalo, New York on Saturday night who I spent the entire second set with- her name was Sara. We talked a lot regardless of the music blaring in our faces and got to know what each other were all about. We would throw out quick lines like “this is amazing,” and “what a beautiful night for this,” and I told her that we were lucky, because we were at that moment, to be under a clear night of stars and a soft breeze, with great music and the overall opportunity to sing, dance and be happy.
Sara told me that live music is a “a better type of therapy… a therapy that actually works.” I could not help but agree. I did not think of any worries for two days, and in the moments where a jam was so utterly intense, I am sure I could not think of the things that are stressing me out at home if I tried.
The more concerts I go to, the happier I am. The more I get opportunities to meet people like Sara, the greater my outlook on life; life as a simple and enjoyable liberty. There is something immensely deep and meaningful about the energy that comes with live music, and I can only hope to do this forever, for the sake of continual inspiration and overall betterment of self.
I am living proof that music is a healer… that music changes. I have progressed, matured and evolved in two years into someone I hope to stay the rest of my life.